3. Cathedral Provincial Park, B.C.
Lake of the Woods Campground
The main draw: It takes a day of hiking to get to this campground at the centre of Cathedral Provincial Park, in the Cascade Mountains west of B.C.’s Okanagan, but the park’s interior is worth it: a subalpine plateau of fish-filled lakes, unique geology, alpine meadows and, most importantly, plenty of hikeable summits and ridges. Day hikes project like spokes on a wheel from the campground, which sits on a turquoise lake across from impressive granite walls.
Things to do: The best hike is the Cathedral Rim Trail, a highline loop along a series of ridges topping out at over 2,500 metres. The route passes some of the park’s best-known geologic formations, including Smokey the Bear, the Devil’s Woodpile and Stone City. The Lake-view Mountain Trail leads to the park’s high point and provides extensive views—on a clear day you can see Mount Rainier’s bulk, 300 kilometres away. Four of the park’s lakes were stocked with trout in the 1930s. Cast for trophy rainbows in Ladyslipper and cutthroats in Lake of the Woods.
Nugget: If you don’t feel like hiking in, you can arrange to hitch a ride to the centre of the park on a shuttle operated by Cathedral Lake Lodge (cathedrallakes.ca).
4. Mount Robson Provincial Park, B.C.
Berg Lake Campground
The main draw: When you first see 3,954-metre Mount Robson from the highway about 25 kilometres away, it’s obvious that the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies is also one of the most spectacular, with its immense bulk rising nearly 3,000 metres above you. And there’s no better place to admire its grandeur than at the Berg Lake Campground, which sits at the northern base of the peak, about a day’s hike from the highway. As its name suggests, the campground is located beside a small lake that actually contains mini icebergs that have broken off from a glacier on the mountain above.
Things to do: The Berg Lake area has several world-class hikes. If you need a recovery day after the 20-kilometre trek in, hike the Mumm Basin route for an eye-popping overview of Robson’s glaciated flanks for relatively little effort. The Snowbird Pass hike is an ambitious 22-kilometre round trip that runs along moraines, through alpine meadows and past the stunning Robson Glacier. The pass itself peers down on the vast Reef Icefield, which looks as if it was transported from Antarctica.
Nugget: Save time on the hike in and out by taking a mountain bike, which is allowed on the first seven kilometres of the Berg Lake Trail.